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Genetic resources and TK: Peruvian IPO ‘will look for you, will find you, and will kill your patent’


The Peruvians claim to be the leader in the protection of genetic resources and Traditional Knowledge (TK). This recent statement was submitted to the Asean-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies claiming that the Peruvian Commission Against Biopiracy (INDECOPI) has developed a strong and solid system to prevent biopioracy.

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Biopiracy is known as the unauthorised collection and/or use for commercial ends of genetic resources or TK. The Biopiracy Commission aims to track and identify cases of biopiracy around the world. In this way it prevents and protects Peruvian biological resources and TK by opposing to patent applications abroad and/or challenges granted patents.

The Peruvian legislation in regards to biopiracy comes in the form of a trade bloc Decision i.e. the Andean Community (CAN, whose members are Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) Decision 391 ‘Establishing the Common Regime on Access to Genetic Resources’.

The report shows that the Biopiracy Commission has resolved 15 cases, 6 of which related to ‘maca’. Patents granted using ‘maca’ for the production of medicaments for the treatment of osteoporosis, insomnia and to increase testosterone and as a nutritional supplement were successfully invalidated after the Commission intervention in Japan, Korea and Europe. Other cases have been successful at early stages since the Biopiracy Commission has opposed to the patent applications.

The president of the National Commission Against Biopiracy noted “the Peruvian State has sovereign rights over their genetic resources; while indigenous peoples have rights to the collective knowledge they have created, developed and preserved through the centuries.”


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